From the Jasper News (Jasper, Missouri), April 2, 1914. (Click for larger.)
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I found a lot of new information about Charles T. Smith yesterday. Previously, we knew very little about him. We knew he was Percy's older brother, and that he was born on July 5, 1874 in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England. We knew that all of his siblings except for Frederic had immigrated to America.
So I was surprised when I found this:
This is a WWI draft card, filled out in September 1918 by a Charles Thomas Smith who was living in Hopland, Mendocino, California. His birthday? July 5, 1874! Born in England! Could this be our Charles? His occupation is listed as "farmer" and his wife is listed as "Gertrude Smith." He is described as having blue eyes and light hair. With these clues, I did some more searching and found this:
This is the 1920 census record that lists Charles Smith and his family. He was living in Mendocino, California at the time and working as a sheep farmer. His date of immigration to the United States is listed as 1916. Also listed are his wife (Gertrude) and children: Gertrude, Charles and Ernest, along with all of their years of birth. Charles' wife Gertrude is listed as having been born in Germany (!), as are Gertrude the daughter and the oldest son Charles. Ernest, on the other hand, is listed as having been born in England in about 1915. Also living with the Smith family in Mendocino at the time were Anna Fraser, a cook, and Henry Vassar, a farm hand. With that information in hand, I found this:
This is the passenger manifest for the Adriatic, which sailed from England and arrived in New York on May 11, 1916 carrying Charles T. Smith and his family. From this document, I learned more about the specific cities of birth, and was able to confirm that this was indeed our Charles--he is listed as having been born in Maidenhead. Also, the document (on the second page, not shown here) lists their final destination as Long Beach, California. It says Charles had visited California previously, in 1914. The document also says they were heading to Long Beach to meet up with Charles' brother, L. H. Smith, who at the time was living at 255 Wisconsin Avenue, Long Beach, California. At the time, Charles is listed as being 5' 8.5", with a "fresh" complexion, brown hair and gray eyes. For a distinguishing mark, he had damaged sinew on his right hand from an accident with a "small fryer." Also interesting to note: his wife, Gertrude, had a mole on each side of her nose (I love the descriptions on these old documents). On the Adriatic, they traveled with a 26-year old photographer from Formby, England, named Lucy Reynolds. Charles paid her fare of passage, and she was also headed to Long Beach.
Here's another interesting ship manifest I found, from a 1920 trip that Charles and his family took from England back to the United States aboard the "New York":
On the second sheet of this manifest, Charles is listed as having red hair and being 5' 10". They were still British citizens at the time. While in England, the closest relative or friend whom they visited was a "Mrs. I. Craig" who lived at 142, Dora Road, Wimbledon Park, London. They were returning to the "Fountain Ranch" in Hopland, Mendocino, California, where Charles was a sheep farmer. The ship left Southampton on August 7, 1920 and arrived in New York on August 18, 1920.
Charles and his family show up in the 1930 census, still living in Mendocino, California. From this census we learn that Gertrude's native language was German:
Charles is listed by other researchers in Ancestry.com as having died in Long Beach, California on January 8, 1933, but I cannot find any documents online to back that up (yet). Piecing together information from other sources (including familysearch.org--some of Charles' descendants are LDS), I found the following information about Charles' family:
Gertrude Helene Louise Abraham, was born in Pösen, Saale-Holzland-Kreis, Thüringen, Germany on September 5, 1878. She died in 1959 in Vacaville, California (not documented).
Gertrude Louise T. Smith was born on March 13, 1911 in Berlin, Germany. She may have died on June 8, 2004 in Fresno, California. I have not found any information regarding a spouse or children for Gertrude.
Charles Julius Thomas Smith was born on February 22, 1913 in Hamburg, Germany. He died on September 9, 1995 in Pollock Pines, El Dorado, California. I have not found any information regarding a spouse or children for Charles.
Ernest Gordon Smith was born on January 8, 1915 in Brockenhurst, England. He married Gwynneth Eleanor Jones in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England in early 1943. They had at least two children: Margaret Elaine Smith (born in 1946) and Christopher Paul Smith (born in 1948 in California and died in 1989 in Arizona). Ernest died on April 12, 1998 in Show Low, Arizona.
Do you have any more information about Charles and his family? If so, tell us in the comments!